Unfortunately there’s a misconception even among God’s people, that a person who does “signs and wonders” should automatically be considered an agent of God. Here we read that such people need to be tested by the Word. If someone dazzles us with their dreams and then directs to other gods, they are not of the LORD. Moses commands us not to listen to that prophet, for God is testing us to see if we really love Him. Under the Old Testament Civil Law of Israel, such people should be put to death. Even if it’s a close friend or family member who tries to lead you astray, God made no exceptions.
It’s important for us to consider the context – this is the nation of Israel, having been redeemed from Egypt by the power of God, sustained in the wilderness, and about to supernaturally enter in to the Promised Land. This was not the law for all nations in that day, and this is not the law for any nations today, we are now under the New Covenant. Such people are not to be put to death by us, but, we should realize how God sees this, and may we never, ever be led away from God and His Word, by false prophets who perform lying signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
Deuteronomy 13:3–4 (NKJV) “…you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
When Israel was established, not only was God willing to put to death individuals, God was willing to wipe out entire cities in Israel, if they turned away from Him and began to serve other gods; there must be no trace of, or temptations to sin left, unattended to. Some might consider this harsh, but God would consider it holy. What’s at stake? Souls that live eternally, either in the city of God, or in the hals of hell with Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
God goes on to list laws on other things like haircuts and details on diet. Again, this is the Civil Law of Israel then, it wasn’t binding for all nations then, and isn’t binding on any nations now. God was simply commanding His people to avoid the appearance of evil (certain haircuts made pagan statements) and was watching out for their health. We don’t have these precepts now, but we should consider the principles behind them.
Through tithing God would not only provide for the Levites and the work of the Tabernacle, but He would also bless each giver (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). Regarding the tithe for the New Testament Christian – I do believe tithing is still something God desires from us, but please allow me to frame my faith on this. Jesus made an interesting statement on tithing in:
Luke 11:42 (NKJV) “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
Jesus was renouncing the Pharisees for being hypocritical. They were meticulous in their tithing but they were disobedient in the more important things like love and justice. Regarding tithing, Jesus affirms what they did by saying, “These you ought to have done.” Did you catch that line from the lips of our Lord? “These you ought to have done.” Although God owns it all, we ought to give at least 10% to the church we’re a part of. As matter of fact, many have said that 10% is a good place to start, 10% is the minimum, and anything beyond the tithe is an offering (Malachi 3:8); the widow gave all that she had (Luke 21:1-4).
Now, having said that, I believe that there are some who live in certain situations who are not able to tithe. Not that they’ve been sloppy with their finances, it’s just that they live on a fixed income and are barely able to make ends meet; God knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart, it’s between you and Him, and He understands. If you are able to tithe, I would encourage you to – you’ll be blessed. If you are unable to tithe, I would encourage you to dig yourself out of debt or self-indulgent spending, to put yourself in a position to tithe, if possible. If there’s nothing you can do, don’t worry, God knows, just give Him your heart. If you have any questions on this, please, don’t hesitate to let us know, in the meantime allow me to recommend a great book by Randy Alcorn, “The Treasure Principle.”
We are to lend to others with hands and hearts wide open. In the nation of Israel, debts were to be forgiven every seven years. Generosity and benevolence would be blessed by God – if only they did things God’s way, they’d be in a position to lend to other other nations (Deuteronomy 15:6) and there would be no need to borrow.
Deuteronomy 15:16-17 is the law of the Bondservant. In Israel, what we might see as slavery they then viewed more as employment and housing. A Jew may find themselves in a difficult place financially, and this was one way to get back on their feet. IF that person said, “I love my master and I want to stay with him,” he would have his ear pierced and remain a permanent employe, a.k.a bondservant forever. This is a picture of what we should be as New Testament Christians, we should be permanent slaves, bondservants of Jesus Christ! (Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:1)
Our hearts ache for this father, his twelve year-old daughter who’s on the verge of death, and this woman who has had a flow of blood for twelve years. The father was the ruler of the Synagogue, and he was risking everything by coming to Jesus, but frequently it’s those desperate times that lead us to God; Jairus begs, Jesus obliges.
The woman knew, all she had to do was touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. What an example for us! That’s all we have to do. Pastor Sandy Adams said, “The crowds bumped into Jesus, but the woman He healed grabbed Him with the grip of faith. Blessings are received, not from incidental contact with God, but from deliberate grasps of faith.”
They told Jairus it was too late, his daughter was dead, but Jesus had a different message, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” (Luke 8:50) Jairus believed…he let Jesus just do what He does, for Jesus gives life to the dead, He raises up those who are down, He comforts the hurting heart, He restores families, and He really does honor faith.
I’m fascinated with the way Jesus gave the twelve disciples (including Judas) power and authority over ALL demons and to cure diseases. Do you believe that same power is available to us today? I do. When Jesus sent them out He gave them some principles for ministry, to trust God for provision, to be content with their quarters, and not to take it personally if the people don’t receive the message – just shake the dust off your feet – you don’t want any part of the judgment headed their way!
The Psalmist is desperate and desperately in love with the Lord.
He’s asking for protection, for deliverance, for salvation.
I’ve always loved Psalm 71:6 it’s my favorite birthday passage:
Psalm 71:6 (NKJV) “By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.”
The Lord is the one who’s taken care of us since the day we were born; He’s taught us since our youth (Psalm 71:17). All this prompted a prayer for deliverance that would be followed by the testimony of praise.
The Psalmist vowed to tell and declare of all God had done for him, day after day, even all day long.
Psalm 71:15 (NKJV) “My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits.”
Psalm 71:17 (NKJV) “O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works.”
Not just words, but worship – songs of praise – there would be music with a message, all about God and what He’s done for us, for me…personally.
In Proverbs 12:5-6 we have the influence of the wise contrasted with the influence of the wicked. If we listen to the wicked we will be deceived, if we listen to the wise, we will be delivered. As a matter of fact, we see in Proverbs 12:7 that the families of the wicked will fail and fall, but the families of the wise will stand.
O God please help us to listen to the wise, please help us to stand.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.